The ABC has released new diversity and inclusion guidelines to promote a wider variety of faces, voices and cultures.
As a result of the new rules, production companies making content for the ABC must meet minimum diversity requirements.
However, critics point out the required targets will be difficult to achieve for certain productions.
For example, a drama set on the font lines of World War I.
ABC launches new diversity and inclusion guidelines
The new “Diversity and Inclusion Commissioning Guidelines” come into effect from today.
They apply to comedy, entertainment, factual, drama and also children’s programs.
The guidelines stipulate that new content must be “about under-represented communities, backgrounds and experience”.
For example, at least one main cast member must be:
- from a “diverse” background;
- disabled; or
- identifies as LGBTQI+.
Additionally, at least half of the main cast and crew must also be female or identify as “gender diverse”.
The ABC has already attracted criticism as a result of the new guidelines.
News.com.au today suggested a World War I drama about Gallipoli will be required to focus on “diversity” among Diggers, including a 50 percent female cast.
Sally Riley, the ABC’s head of drama, comedy and Indigenous programming, confirmed such a production will not automatically be exempt from casting women or Indigenous actors in lead roles.
“We know there were Aboriginal soldiers fighting in that war,” she told Nine Newspapers.
“And it wasn’t just about the men (on the battlefield) – it’s also about the women and children who were left at home and kept the country running.
“We might ask, ‘How can we build in a storyline about a partner or mother of one of the soldiers?’”
‘Nothing about us without us’
Under the guideline’s principle “nothing about us without us”, all productions about a “diverse” group in the community must include at least one person who is “representative of that diversity within the core creative team”.
Michael Carrington, ABC Director Entertainment, said:
“Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do at the ABC.
“As a public broadcaster, we must reflect the audience we are serving and a broad range of perspectives, people and stories makes us stronger, more creative and better able to engage with and reflect the Australian community.”
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